A Great Book for Writers


I’ve just been reading this: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, and it’s kind of helping with the first draft of Bad Jean, although I know it will come into its own when I’m editing it. I’m definitely what he calls a NOP (No Outline Person), but I really like his analysis of structure and how it can work just by keeping it in the back of  your mind while writing.

My one problem is that, after reading this, I am having to work double hard at pushing my internal editors away as I write, and that tends to hinder the free flow of the story.… read more

Poised, ready to dive in

Yesterday I lugged all 450 pages of the Every Vow You Break manuscript – with line-edits and my own final alterations – up to London to hand over to Leah, my editor at Headline. Tomorrow, I start on Bad Jean. Although character, place and story are pretty well formed in my head, I have not yet written one single word. Eek.

Looking back over this blog, I realise, with a little frisson of horror, that by November 24 2010 I was printing out the first draft of Every Vow You Break.… read more

Nearly There Now

Editor Leah got back with her notes for draft two of Every Vow You Break (formerly known as Novel #2). There were two of them: 1) it’s brilliant and 2) she loves it. The story, plot, character and setting notes from draft one are now all fixed! Hurrah!

Before it goes to the copy editor, though, I’ve asked for another couple of weeks to get right on down to the word level, polishing each sentence so that it conveys as succinctly as possible what I am trying to say.… read more

What I did on my Holidays part 1: Pilgrimage

Can't believe I'm actually here.

Top of my list to do while we were in the Bay Area around San Francisco  (after finishing the second draft of Every Vow You Break, of course) was to visit my Alma Mater – the Office of Letters and Light, out of which NaNoWriMo is given to the world every November.

Now then, if you have read this blog for a bit, or if you have ever bumped into me anywhere, you will know that I am a bit evangelical about NaNoWriMo, so feel free to skip the next para or two.… read more

What I Learned While Editing…

3 am, San Francisco Hotel bathroom

I’ve not been around for a while because, among other things, I have had my head down on draft 2 of novel #2. I had some fantastic notes from EditorLeah, AgentSimon and AsstAgentAriella, and have been working on them, weaving new plotlines back and forth, making sure the little boy doesn’t age rather too rapidly to serve the story (!) and cutting out one of the two prologues and one of the secret rooms.… read more

Under the Kosh

It’s all gone quiet again round here. Reason being  I am working my ever-increasing-in-size-because-sitting-on-it-all-day butt off trying to get my second novel into a state where I feel I can let others look at it. I’m rewriting at around 5000 words a day, and very little else is being done, except necessary trips to the gym to offset hours of sitting on a chair…and to the kitchen to stock up on hot cross buns.

I just got back from York Festival of Writing, which was like a shot of adrenaline.… read more

Editing for geeks

I have been a bit quiet of late because I am deep in editing mode, with a lot of Christmas and new year stuff on the side. But I have  got my story mapped out now, so I thought I’d stick my head above the parapet and share what I’m up to.

I have filled in all my real-world index cards, colour-coded them and shuffled them around, and I have transcribed all that information onto virtual index cards in Scrivener, which I have already banged on enough about.… read more

Spooky title thing

My drawing for The Author

So Old Man and I went to my friend Belinda Gannaway‘s jolly birthday party on Saturday night in the very atmospheric conditions of Brighton Sailing Club on the rainy, stormy, high tide seafront. (Brighton Sailing Club sounds frightfully grand, but it’s really just a slightly damp promenade arch with a cheap bar).

Anyway, Belinda came up and said ‘you must meet my friend Ben Hatch. He’s a novelist too.’ So we did.… read more

Weightlifting for weedy writers

Note the spaces around the words. Not empty for long...

I have printed out my first draft of novel #2, and it comes to nearly 500 pages, and used up a whole black inkjet. This environmental abomination is going to be my constant companion for the next six weeks or so. I’m going to read it, scribble on it, cross out great chunks, add bits and make lists from it and fill in a pile of index cards.… read more

Research wasn’t like this when I was a lass

Me by Rembrandt

Today I am feeling a little Lazarus-like thanks to antibiotics. But still happily confined to bed, where I have been engaging in research for novel #2. I am a sort of after the event researcher – I like to write unhindered by mere fact. It’s only after I make something up that I want to go and check if it’s actually true. It can be annoying if it isn’t, but that’s the great thing about fiction-writing.… read more